Thursday, April 29, 2010

Just in Time

A week or two ago Linzy mentioned that we got an e-mail from americanblinds saying that Hunter Douglas was discontinuing online sales. I originally thought they meant just at that particular retailer but after a little searching I found the press release that confirms it is all online sales:

Effective June 1, 2010, Hunter Douglas brand window coverings will no longer be sold through the Internet sales channel in the U.S. or Canada...."By discontinuing Internet sales, we will lose some business in the near term," continued Hopkins. "We are confident, however, that this policy will further our goal of preserving and enhancing the image, value and reputation of the Hunter Douglas brand and will also lead to greater sales through our Aligned Dealer network over the longer term."

I like to call that insanity. Next thing you know, maybe they'll be shutting down their website to protect the 'in-store' experience at their dealer's shops.

Now I can understand their dealers being pissed that online sites could sell the same blinds thousands of dollars cheaper. And I can understand the company wanting to ensure customers who are buying shades for hundreds-to-thousands of dollars each know exactly what they are getting. But is ending all online sales really the right way to go? What about just opening your own online site for selling the blinds?

We had a completely hassle free experience buying Hunter Douglas shades online, even getting the single most expensive shade replaced when it was damaged without any questions asked. While I'm really happy with what we bought, I can't image paying 20% more for the same thing from a local dealer. All it amounts to is a price increase for their shades and even more of a premium over the other competing shades.

I'm just glad we bought when we did and avoided the price hike.

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